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Old 21-03-20, 03:53   #1
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Important US Senators Dumped Millions in Stocks BEFORE Corovirus was Announced

Revealed: Four Republican Senators Dumped Millions in Stocks While Capitol Hill was Being Briefed on the Coronavirus Threat But BEFORE Markets Started Tanking
  • Richard Burr, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee which was directly briefed on coronavirus, sold up to $1.7m in stock between January and February
  • Dianne Feinstein, on the same committee, sold up to $6m in stock in same period
  • Kelly Loeffler, on the Senate Health Committee, sold up to $3.1m in stock starting on the day her committee was briefed by the CDC
  • James Inhofe sold up to $400k in stocks including real estate all on January 27
The Guardian UK / Daily Mirror UK, 20 MAR 2020

Four senators dumped millions of dollars worth of stock while Capitol Hill was being briefed on the threat of coronavirus but before the markets tanked as infections soared, disclosure records have revealed.

Republicans Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler and James Inhofe and Democrat Dianne Feinstein collectively offloaded up to $11million in stock between late January and early February, according to records seen by The Daily Beast, New York Times and ProPublica.

Burr, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee that was directly briefed on coronavirus, sold up to $1.7million in stock including in hotels, according to reporting from ProPublica.

Feinstein, a member of the same committee, sold up to $6million in stock including in a biotech firm.

Loeffler dumped up to $3.1million in investments starting on the day the Senate Health Committee, which she sits on, was briefed by the CDC. Meanwhile James Inhofe sold up to $400,000 in stock including real estate.

Loeffler and Feinstein have defended themselves, saying their stocks are invested in trusts and portfolios that they have no personal control over. Inhofe has not commented.

Burr's spokeswoman said in a statement to DailyMail.com that Burr filed his financial disclosure form several weeks before the markets showed 'volatility.'

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act prohibits members of Congress from insider trading based on classified information they have received in briefings.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr, knew of the coming coronavirus crisis three weeks ago and divulged details of the chaos that would ensue to a group of well-heeled constituents

Sen Kelly Loeffler (pictured) reportedly sold $3.1million in stock with the first sale made on January 24, the same day her committee was briefed by the CDC

Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, sold up to $400k all on January 27

Dianne Feinstein who sits on the Intelligence Committee which was also briefed on coronavirus, sold up to $6m in stock

Sen Kelly Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold $3.1million in stock between late January and early February.

The first sale was in the firm Resideo Technologies worth between $50,001 and $100,000 and made on January 24, the same day her committee - the Senate Health Committee - held a briefing with the CDC.

The stock has since halved in value.

During the same period the couple made just two purchases, one of which was stock in a tele-working company that has seen an increase in price amid office shutdowns.

Meanwhile Richard Burr, Republican chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee which was being briefed on coronavirus, offloaded between $582,029 and $1.56million of his stock holdings in mid-February.

Burr later went on to warn people at a meeting in Washington that coronavirus was likely to cause significant disruption to businesses, even as Donald Trump was playing down the threat.

Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic member of the same committee, and her husband also sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company between late January and mid-February.

Elsewhere James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, sold stocks totaling $400,000 on January 27 including shares in PayPal, Apple and Brookfield Asset Management, a real estate company.

February 13 Burr sold of stock holdings in 29 separate transactions. A week later the stock market started its downward trend, now losing about a third of its value.

Burr dumped $150,000 worth of shares of Wyndham Hotels and Resorts stock and $100,000 worth of shares of Extended Stay America.

The hospitality industry has been one of the worst shattered in this collapse.

Then, on February 27 Burr gave well-heeled constituents from the Tar Heel State a dire warning about the kind of chaos the coronavirus could cause.

The North Carolina Republican is heard on a secret recording obtained by NPR telling members of the Tar Heel Circle on February 27 that the coronavirus was 'much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history.'

Burr talked to members of the Tar Heel Circle, a group that charges $500 to $10,000 for membership, at the Capitol Hill Club, a private social club for Republicans located steps away from the Capitol Building

At the Capitol Hill Club (pictured), Burr spelled out the anticipated widespread disruptions that would be caused by the coronavirus outbreak, statements he wasn't making publicly

'It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic,' Burr told the group, who pay between $500 and $10,000 for membership of the group, according to NPR's reporting.

In a series of tweets, Burr pushed back and said he was addressing the membership of the North Carolina State Society. 'The message I shared with my constituents is the one public health officials urged all of us to heed as coronavirus spread increased,' he also said.

A spokesman for Feinstein said that all of her stock holdings are in a blind trust, and that she has no involvement in financial decisions made by her husband.

The luncheon that was taped was held at the Capitol Hill Club, a social club for Republicans located steps away from the Capitol Building.

There, Burr spelled out some of the broad repurcussions of the brewing outbreak.

'Every company should be cognizant of the fact that you may have to alter your travel. You may have to look at your employees and judge whether the trip they're making to Europe is essential or whether it can be done on video conference. Why risk it?' Burr told attendees.

He also previewed school shutdowns.

'There will be, I'm sure, times that communities, probably some in North Carolina, have a transmission rate where they say, "Let's close schools for two weeks. Everybody stay home,' the Republican lawmaker said.

Burr also said the military would be utilized.

'We're going to send a military hospital there; it's going to be in tents and going to be set up on the ground somewhere,' he said. 'It's going to be a decision the president and DOD make. And we're going to have medical professionals supplemented by local staff to treat the people that need treatment,' he added.

Burr was not sounding a similar alarm publicly. And the leader of his party, President Trump, was downplaying the risk the same day.

It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle. It will disappear,' Trump said. 'It could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We'll see what happens.'

Three weeks later, Burr's assessment was right on the money.

A week ago Wednesday, Trump announced that travellers from Europe who were not Americans or U.S. residents would be banned.

On Thursday, the State Department told Americans to come home from abroad now - and to not count on government help.

Schools, colleges and universities across the country have been closed down. And the military is doing its part to deal with the outbreak.

Later on Twitter, Burr blasted NPR saying the lunch was sponsored by the North Carolina State Society. 'They aren’t "secretive: or "high-dollar donor" organizations.

'Unfortunately, NPR’s journalistic malpractice has raised concerns that Americans weren’t warned about the significant steps we may have to take to stop the coronavirus threat. That’s not true,' Burr said.

He pointed to comments Trump made on February 26, when the president said 'every aspect of our society should be prepared.' Though Trump used the caveat that the preparations should be made 'just in case.'

'Purposefully misleading listeners for the sake of a "narrative," like NPR has done, makes us less safe,' Burr wrote.

On the ProPublica report, a spokesperson for Burr told DailyMail.com, 'Senator Burr filed a financial disclosure form for personal transactions made several weeks before the U.S. and financial markets showed signs of volatility due to the growing coronavirus outbreak.'

'As the situation continues to evolve daily, he has been deeply concerned by the steep and sudden toll this pandemic is taking on our economy,' the statement continued. 'He supported Congress’ immediate efforts to provide $7.8 billion for response efforts and this week’s bipartisan bill to provide relief for American business and small families.'

The statement didn't push back on the allegations found in the reporting outright.

Pointing to the NPR and ProPublica reports, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - one of the most famous House Democrats - called for Burr's head.

As Intel chairman, @SenatorBurr got private briefings about Coronavirus weeks ago. Burr knew how bad it would be. He told the truth to his wealthy donors, while assuring the public that we were fine. THEN he sold off $1.6 million in stock before the fall,' Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday.

'He needs to resign.'



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